Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $0.86 (6%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Lectures on Don Quixote has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shows signs of wear. May have some writing, highlighting, ear marked pages, remainder marks, and other signs of use. May be ex-library copy. Spine may show signs of wear. Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, FREE tracking, 24/7 Customer Service!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Lectures on Don Quixote Paperback – April 18, 1984

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.14
$10.11 $0.31

2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
$14.14 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Lectures on Don Quixote
  • +
  • Lectures on Literature
  • +
  • Lectures on Russian Literature
Total price: $38.53
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

Quite the least interesting, most dutiful of Nabokov's collegiate lectures on literature, these talks on Don Quixote were given at Harvard, 1951-52. Again, Nabokov applies principles of categorization to the text at hand: dimensions, numbering, topographies, maps. And he offers some (but not much) general discussion of the book's enduring genius. "What we shall witness now is the evolution of the epic form, the shedding of its metrical skin, the hoofing of its feet, a sudden fertile cross between the winged monster of the epic and the specialized prose form of entertaining narration, more or less a domesticated mammal, if I may pursue the metaphor to its lame end;" Nabokov sees Don Quixote as a logical continuation of earlier chivalric romances, "with the elements of madness and shame and mystification increased." The book, he finds, is one of those "perhaps more important in eccentric diffusion than in their intrinsic value." Clearly not one of Nabokov's favorite books, he sees it as neither humane nor humorous: a whole section of the lectures is given over to literally scoring (as in tennis) the Don's cruel humiliations. And Cervantes' comedy receives little praise: "Dulcinea shall be restored to Don Quixote if - now comes the rib-splitting joke - if Sancho consents to take 3000 lashes on his bare behind. Otherwise, says the Duke when he hears of the requirement, you do not get your island. The whole thing is very medieval, coarse, and stupid fun, as all fun that comes from the devil. Authentic humor comes from the angels." True, Nabokov is sometimes entertaining when he kibbitzes, one novelist to another, taking Cervantes to task for not having done a scene better; he does admire the hapless Don himself. ("He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon.") But the bon mots here are scarce, and the book is little more than an acerbic, uninvolved study-guide - for Nabokov fanatics only. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born poet, novelist, literary critic, translator, and essayist was awarded the National Medal for Literature for his life's work in 1973. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. He is the author of many works including Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and Speak, Memory.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Interested in the Audiobook Edition?
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; First Edition edition (April 18, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156495406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156495400
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought and read Nabokov's "Lectures on Literature" which is based on his European literature course that he taught at Cornell in the 1950s. That is an excellent guide to seven well known novels: "Mansfield Park, Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Walk by Swann's Place, The Metamorphosis, and Ulysses." In that set of course notes he dissects each book and spends about 40 pages or so on each novel discussing style, structure, etc. He spends more time on Ulysses and less on Kafka's "The Metamorphosis."

The present book is a bit different. He prepared only six lectures that he gave in the spring of 1952 at Harvard for the course Humanities 2. The aim is to describe and give an overall context for the work "Don Quixote." The notes still exist in six manilla folders and they are the basis of the present book edited by Fredson Bowers.

The course starts with a very brief introduction in the same style as the Cornell lectures with sketches of maps, etc. Next, he describes in detail the character of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Those are the first two chapters, or about 24 pages. Then he describes the structure of the book for another 25 pages, again with copies of Nabokov's actual class notes.

Cruelty and mystification are covered in a similar but lengthy analysis, followed by The Chronicler's Theme, and Victory and Defeats. The second half of the book is a chapter by chapter summary of both volumes I and II. In total, it is just over 200 pages of notes.

As Guy Davenport states in his introduction, the book puts most other teachers to shame who attempt to teach Don Quixote in a week. It is refreshing and detailed, and as Nabokov points out, this is an analysis of a book that evokes cruel laughter.
Read more ›
Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"... one of the most bitter and barbarous books ever penned" said Nabokov about "Don Quixote". Exposing the flood of physical and emotional abuse inflicted on the half insane knight and his largely average squire is at the heart of these lectures. In the early 50's, when Nabokov delivered his lectures on "Don Quixote" at Harvard, this was a radically new take on the classic novel which most critics considered good-natured and almost pastoral. For Nabokov, however, this position was quite in line with his signature irreverent views. He has always been sensitive to human suffering and considered pity for human condition one of the main attributes of art (in his "Lectures on Literature", for example, he especially noted compassion for the lame girl in "Ulysses" and Gregor's quiet suffering as a beetle in "Metamorphosis").

Building up on the themes of cruelty and insanity, Nabokov points out that in 1600's both were enjoyed as entertainment. The raw cruelty of 3,000 lashes that Sancho is to receive, or Don Quixote's suspension by the hand for two hours during which he "bellows like a bull", or the sick pleasure that many of the book's characters derive from Don Quixote's insanity and from playing into it - all that was run of the mill fun in Cervantes's Europe. Nabokov believes that this crude entertainment was the main source of the book's appeal for the readers when the book came out.

The novel's structure (which in Nabokov's world is second only to style) is really nonexistent: "The book belongs essentially to a primitive form, to the loosely strung, higgledy-pickled, variegated picaresque type". Nabokov notes that the many inconsistencies in the book Cervantes seems to either ignore or simply attribute to magic.
Read more ›
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you love Don Quixote or are being forced to read it for class you're going to want Nabokovs insightful thoughts about the book to go along with it. This book really adds a new dimension of understanding to this classic work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Nabokov claims to dislike Don Quixote and considers the novel 'crewl' yet spent a significant portion of time analyzing the novel and teaching it. I am reminded of Tolstoy's dismissal of Shakespeare and his dissection of King Lear. Orwell correctly pointed out that, among these giants, bothering to grapple with another's legend so completely is a nod to greatness, one doesn't bother to kill a knat w/ a sledgehammer.
Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is another great publication from Nabokov's "Lectures on Literature" series. In "Lectures on Don Quixote", Nabokov examines many of the themes that he would revisit in later works of fiction - most notably cruelty (Invitation to a Beheading, Bend Sinister, Lolita), madness (The Defense, Lolita, Pale Fire, Look at the Harlequins, Ada), the conflation of illusion and reality (again The Defense, Lolita, Pale Fire), and the nature of identity (Real Life of Sebastian Knight). In fact, as Guy Davenport deftly points out in the forward, Don Quixote almost seems like the initial template for Lolita given the treatment of similar themes such as the "generative power of delusions" and obsessions combined with the "journey" as the "harmonizing intuition" of the two works. I might add that Cervantes' parody of chivalry is similar to Lolita's parody of the detective novel and that elements of the Humbert/Lolita relationship can be found in Don Quixote's interactions with Sancho Panza.

One quibble is that Nabokov seems convinced that Cervantes cruel/sadistic humor at Don Quixote and Sancho Panza's expense is meant to be funny rather than illicit the disgust which Nabokov emits - although I am not so sure. As Cervantes' narrator states, "in his opinion, the deceivers are as mad as the deceived, and that the duke and duchess came very close to seeming like fools since they went to such lengths to deceive two fools." Elsewhere he writes that "jests that cause pain are not jests and entertainments are not worthwhile if they injure another." Perhaps Cervantes was toying with his readers' internal sense of morality as Nabokov would do some 350 years later.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Lectures on Don Quixote
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: Lectures on Don Quixote

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?